Permanent daylight saving time makes sense

If you're not a fan of switching clocks twice a year, you may appreciate legislation moving through the Missouri General Assembly that would make daylight saving time (DST) permanent in the Show Me State.

If fully agreed to and signed by the governor, this would clear the way for Missouri to make DST permanent if the majority of its eight border states do the same.

If you're confused about daylight saving time vs. standard time, daylight saving time is the option we're on now. It shifts an hour of daylight to the end of the day.

The legislation, House Bill 848, overwhelmingly passed the lower chamber (126-16) and now awaits a vote by the Senate, which has until May 14 to act. State Reps. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) and Jamie Burger (R-Benton) each voted "yes." State Rep. Rick Francis (R-Perryville) was absent but had previously been supportive. State Rep. Barry Hovis (R-Jackson) opposed the measure, saying he supported sticking with one time but preferred standard time to be the year-round choice.

Those who advocate for permanent standard time or the current time-change scenario often make the case that having the hour of daylight in the morning, particularly during the late fall and winter months, allows children waiting on a bus to do so during daylight hours.

One of the original arguments for daylight saving time was to help Americans conserve energy. But more recent studies indicate daylight saving time does not contribute to energy savings.

There's an interesting health argument to be made for ending the time switch. Charlotte Boyce Craig, former Cape Girardeau County health officer, told the Southeast Missourian there are several health issues related to the time change, including: increased cardiovascular issues, depression and suicide, workplace injuries, vehicular accidents, decreased productivity, possible triggering of seasonal affective disorder and increased energy use.

Of course maybe the most popular reason for daylight saving time is having the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day, allowing for more outdoor family activities or exercise in the late afternoon and evening.

In general, we're supportive of the effort to make daylight saving time permanent. The benefits of having extra daylight for family activities and outdoor exercise at the end of the day combined with a reduction in potential health challenges are compelling. And it's certainly helpful to eliminate the time switch confusion.

The path Missouri's Legislature is taking appears prudent. Even if signed into law, the change is contingent on a majority of neighboring states also taking action. That's a smart, reasoned approach. We'll see how it plays out as the legislative session comes to a close, but we hope Missouri -- and, frankly, the entire country -- will soon do away with the time change business and make daylight saving time the permanent format.